PSA disaster 40 years ago today triggered changes that make flying safer

This is one of the most difficult and painful posts I’ve written. Today is the 40th anniversary of an air disaster that changed U.S. commercial aviation forever. You’re probably not conscious of it if you don’t live on the West Coast, especially if you were not alive at the time. But it had a far-reaching... Read more »

Taking carriage horses off Chicago's streets is an idea whose time has come

If you’re like me, your heart has ached witnessing horses hauling carriages down congested Mag Mile area streets in the brutal cold of a Chicago winter night, or the scorching heat of summer, and you’ve felt helpless to do anything for these creatures. On Wednesday, September 12, at 11 a.m., the Chicago City Council Committee... Read more »

Illinois Good Samaritan bill would let citizens rescue pets from hot cars

Q&A with Marc Ayers, Humane Society of the U.S. Illinois State Director Every summer brings with it the heartbreaking and all too common reports of infants and pets perishing inside hot vehicles. Thirteen states have passed “Good Samaritan” laws that allow citizens to break into a locked vehicle if they witness an animal inside that appears... Read more »
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It could get easier for older job applicants to prove age discrimination

No one over the age of 40 needs to be reminded that age discrimination in the workplace is a very real problem, and even with laws in place that are supposed to protect older workers, the odds are often stacked against you when vindicating your rights in court. It is particularly difficult for older workers... Read more »

Constitutional Writes: The gay wedding cake case

Befuddled and even a little dismayed that today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding skirted the overarching constitutional issues involved and turned instead on case-specific issues? (The Court’s majority opinion, which was not divided along ideological lines, focused on specific actions... Read more »

Loss of Tom Wolfe, Philip Roth leaves big literary shoes to fill

In the space of less than two weeks, we lost two giants in modern American literature. Both of the same generation, each groundbreaking and provocative in his own way, but at the same time very different in style and substance. Tom Wolfe, of course, was the dapper, eccentric Southern-gentleman author of such classics as The... Read more »
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No Green in These Genes: When your family tree reveals you’re not Irish after all

Growing up, I was told I was Scottish, French Canadian, and one-quarter Irish on my father’s side. My dad’s mother, Thelma O’Dell, came from good Irish stock in County Cork, the story went. I never knew her; she died of tuberculosis at 36 and was for me a figure shrouded in mystique. I had even... Read more »

Tarantino's Manson movie invites more apprehension than anticipation

When I first read that director Quentin Tarantino was shooting a film centered around the 1969 Charles Manson murder rampage, I rolled my eyes. Why, Quentin, why? Tarantino, the former video store clerk turned directing genius, is one of my favorite filmmakers. But not only has this particular story been done to death (no pun... Read more »

Oscar of Yesteryear: Who Won and Who Should Have Won

<b>1998 Best Picture Winner: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.
Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (enough said about him) basically bought the Oscar for this Miramax production. Does anybody even remember this mediocre comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes? If they do it’s most likely for Judi Dench’s Oscar-winning but too-brief appearance as Queen Elizabeth I.  Or for Paltrow in drag as a boy. </b>
Every time the Academy Awards roll around, I can’t help thinking about all the films, actors, and actresses who were more deserving of taking home the Oscar–in my humble opinion–than the ones who actually did. It seems the winners are often not chosen on merit, but on popularity and trendiness. A lot like the cool... Read more »
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A way to deter mass shooters: Stop giving them recognition

These mass shootings have become tragically routine. As have the usual gun-control debates that rage in their aftermath. Now a new proposal is gaining traction, one that could be a very powerful deterrent if only the mass media would heed it. These shooters—overwhelmingly male, mostly (but not always) young, often mentally ill and/or antisocial, alienated,... Read more »